News and New Product Briefs (8/15/98)

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Sun and IBM release JavaOS for Business

Sun Microsystems and IBM issued a joint announcement on August 5 on the availability of JavaOS for Business to independent software and hardware vendors. The collaborative effort is a server platform that centrally manages Java objects. It's purpose? As an enterprise product that can link and serve network computers (NCs) and diverse Java-enabled devices.

Currently, JavaOS for Business is available on Intel-based x86 devices only. But in early 1999, expect to see it optimized for Sun's JavaStation and IBM's Network Station as well as for other platforms and chip sets. Also, there are plans to upgrade JavaOS for Business in November, when the new JDK 1.2 is released.

Targeted at retail markets, the product will be used in things like kiosks and ticket machines -- devices that are hooked up to the Internet and can provide commerce functions. Vendors supporting JavaOS for Business include Applix Inc., BEA Systems, Cloudscape Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., Informix Software Inc., Lotus Development Corp., Netscape Communications Corp., Oracle Corp., SAS Institute Inc., Sybase Inc., and Tivoli Systems Inc.

As part of the announcement, IBM and Sun released some technical details about JavaOS for Business:

  • New tools and APIs for server-side management of the entire client environment will be available, including the operating system, system services, and user applications.

  • Modular client-side features are provided to ensure that only needed services are downloaded from the server, making better use of system memory.

  • This version will support JDK 1.1.4, is designed primarily for the x86 and SPARC environments initially, and requires about 8MB of memory.

  • On the server side, Windows NT 4.0 to Solaris 2.6 will be supported.

Sun and IBM have been working on their developer programs to increase the vendors' contribution to JavaOS. Support for developers now includes ISV and IHV programs for 100% Pure Java certification, IBM's Solution Studios to help developers pre-test their applications for the certification for free, device-driver development workshops, and "developer camps" for the retail, banking, insurance, process, and manufacturing markets.

This initial release of JavaOS for Business is only offered to those who already are part of the development programs at Sun, IBM, and Netscape. Thus, pricing on the new OS is not available yet.

(Rawn Shah contributed information on JavaOS for Business.)

See InfoWorld story: "JavaOS for Business makes debut"

Survey says: Java and ISPs fueling Internet market growth

In its latest study, "Internet and Intranet Market Forecast Worldwide: 1997-2002," UK-based technology research company Input said that Internet services, enterprise applications, and Java will push Internet/intranet market growth to 62 billion by 2002.

The company predicts that 00 billion of that will be in the software and service sectors. In 1997, North America comprised 70 percent of the world's Internet/intranet market revenue, Europe 18 percent, Pacific Asia 11 percent, and the rest of the world less than 1 percent. Input predicts that in 2002, North America will be commanding 59 percent, Europe 21 percent, Asia 18 percent (if it recovers from current economic woes), and the rest of the world 2 percent.

Input estimates the current installed base of Java developers to be 400,000, and notes that this group is growing at a faster rate than developers using C++, Smalltalk, or Visual Basic. Coupled with Java's easily-integrated architecture, these statistics have allowed Input prognosticators to highlight Java as a driving market force. They predict that most current development tools will support Java within two years.

Other driving forces include Internet-based virtual private network services and the more prevalent integration of enterprise applications into both intranet and Internet environments.

Symantec Java Visual Café readies for distributed-app deployment

Symantec announced that its new Visual Café for Java Enterprise Suite, planned to ship later this year, will let developers build and deploy distributed Java applications on various systems.

The drag-and-drop look and feel of the tool won't change with the exception of one addition -- an interaction editor that lets developers visually implement JavaBean components. This version of Visual Café software automatically takes care of tracking each section of a distributed application while it's being built -- the developer gets to look at the application as a whole entity. And because tracking is handled from one location, the distributed debugging can be localized to one machine.

The new Enterprise Suite will also support CORBA and RMI tools, as well as Enterprise JavaBeans.

Pricing is not yet set.

BEA and Symantec integrate Java tools

BEA Systems announced that it and Symantec inked an agreement to let BEA integrate Symantec's enterprise Java tools with BEA's recently released M3 object transaction manager middleware.

BEA M3 already supports C++ servers on Digital Unix, HP-UX, Solaris, and Windows NT platforms. BEA officials predict that one or two releases down the road (sometime in Fall 1998), M3 will support Enterprise JavaBeans.

Learning Tree releases new hands-on Java course

Learning Tree announced a new four-day, hands-on course, Developing Electronic Commerce Applications with Java, designed to instruct developers in methods for building secure e-commerce Java applications.

The course focuses on:

  • Writing applications that use Java's security architecture and APIs
  • Writing Java smart card applications
  • Integrating servlets with Web servers and databases
  • Configuring application servers to support secure Java Commerce Messages

The course, along with such existing Java courses as Java Programming, Java for Enterprise Systems Development, and Java for GUI Development, will begin in September 1998.

Check Learning Tree's Web site for dates and locations.

ErgoTech delivers 100% Pure Java virtual instrumentation beans

ErgoTech Systems announced that its Virtual Instrumentation Beans (the single development edition), designed to help developers design GUIs for industrial and laboratory control applications, has been certified 100% Pure Java.

The Virtual Instrumentation Beans (VIB) suite of components includes meters, strip charts, annunciators, active input devices (such as knobs, buttons, and sliders), and seven-segment displays. The special feature of these Beans is their ability to link the developed interfaces to the live data sources, delivering real-time updates. The updates are delivered by extensions to basic VIB data servers that come with the software.

The VIB components can be used to build standalone Java applications/applets; they also work with ErgoTech's industrial framework.

AT2's ResQ!Net certified 100% Pure

Advanced Transition Technologies (AT2) announced that its ResQ!Net, which lets Java clients graphically access legacy host applications over the Web, has been certified 100% Pure Java.

ResQ!Net was designed without dependence on native code or platform implementation, so it runs on different operating systems (HP-UX, Solaris, Windows 95/NT) and platforms (HP-UX, OS/2, Solaris, Windows 95/NT). And no coding is required -- all host application GUI screens are provided on the fly.

ResQ!Net comes with its own TN3270/TN5250 connectivity. The company offers a customized version that integrates with IBM's Host On-Demand. The software doesn't require proprietary server software.

KL Group's JProbe Profiler 1.1.1 gets an upgrade

KL Group announced an upgrade to its Java profiling and analysis software, JProbe Profiler 1.1.1. The upgrade adds some display speed as its major enhancement.

JProbe Profiler is used by Java developers to identify application and applet bottlenecks. The core of the software is the Sun Java virtual machine (JVM) -- KL Group has implemented the VM so that its tool can measure anything about Java program execution from within the VM. Then, JProbe's graphical analyzer displays the execution performance.

In version 1.1.1, performance has been improved in the Call Graph display and the loading of snapshot files. The company reports a ten- to twentyfold speed increase.

Another "%20" Java Web Server bug

Déjà vu: Sun Microsystems confirmed another bug (one almost identical to the one discovered last month) that could expose server-side script source code in Web pages running under Java Web Server 1.1.2 for Solaris and NT.

Last month's bug, which worked by appending "%20" to the end of a URL, exposed the page's source code, including scripts which were not meant to be seen. That bug was traced to a flaw in the Windows 95, 98, and NT operating systems. The new bug is native to Java Web Server.

According to project head for the Java Web Server Rob Clark, the new bug only affects Java Web Server 1.1 and later versions (all OSs), and he noted that "the end result is the same, but this bug is completely unrelated." Clark added that the bug is an unwanted side effect resulting from Java Web Server's Invoker Servlet, which lets developers drop all servlets into a single directly and then invoke them from a tag within the Web page, in essence allowing site developers to use servlets with little administrative overhead.

Malicious users can add the path to the Invoker within the URL, then tell the Invoker to execute a specific file.

The early, simple workaround (which disables the Invoker) is posted on the Sun site.

Java Web Server Security Advisory: Original article:

Fractal Images releases WebReader 2.0 newsreader

The Fractal Images Co. announced the full release of version 2.0 of its all-Java WebReader -- HTML-enhanced Internet newsreader software.

Robert Uomini, Fractal Images founder, noted that the first beta version (in May of this year) received a fairly clean bug report from users. He said, "The fact that few bugs were reported was especially gratifying."

With WebReader, users can post articles to newsgroups in HTML. WebReader users would see that posting in rendered HTML; others would see just the ASCII, free of HTML tags.

WebReader 2.0 can be downloaded at no cost from the company's site.

Product info: JavaWorld WebReader brief: "Fractal Images debuts WebReader 2.0 Java newsreader"

Harvard Registrar goes Java

Due to the inability to generate student demographics and easily update course listings because of the mix of custom applications, Harvard University's Registrar's Office is mutating its centralized Unix-based system to a Java-based, three-tiered Internet system.

The Registrar's Office for the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences had to deal with various types of data entering the system from various custom C/C++ applications. That made it difficult to easily extract data -- for each report, programmers would have to cobble together a new application. Besides course listings, the office maintains information on about 10,000 students.

In 1997, Nevo Technologies evaluated the system and suggested the following three-tier system:

  • Thin-client applications on the front-end
  • Java-based business objects serving as the middleware
  • A mix of Oracle8 and Sybase databases on the back-end

The company started designing the system in July 1997. It used Oracle's Designer 2000 to do the designing and data modeling, Inprise's VisiBroker for Java and C++ to craft the Object Request Brokers, and controlled the process through IBM's VisualAge for Java integrated development environment.

The first part of the project, creating and publishing a Web and print version of the 98-99 course catalog, came to fruition in Spring 1998. And it will soon allow students to register for courses online.

The almost all-Java system uses CORBA and NT servers and runs just one C++ application with which users can generate reports. Next, the company will be building examination schedule and workflow services.

Registrar Arlene Becella said that before you had to refer to a manual just to decipher the code that meant you were in, say, the anthropology listings. She added, "Now you see anthropology and know what section of the catalog you're working on."

Original article:

Windows CE adds Java DBMS

Object Design announced ObjectStore PSE Pro for Java 2.0, a pure-Java embedded database management system for Windows CE.

With ObjectStore PSE, developers can use existing Java IDEs to create embedded database applications for WinCE. It reduces memory and storage needs by allowing developers to store and access Java objects in their native formats. Deployment is quick, with little administration necessary, and its footprint is only 300 KB.

Object Design said to expect a Visual C++ version sometime later this year.

Try ObjectDesign PSE Pro for Java free for 30 days. It comes with Windows CE support and runs on any Java-supported platform.

ReCor debuts SkillSpace Java-based training

ReCor Corp. announced SkillSpace, Java-based training software that will let companies deliver interactive training to its employees over a Web browser. It should be available in beta on the company's site sometime in August 1998.

ReCor president Richard Moy calls SkillSpace revolutionary because, "First, we have greatly simplified delivery to users by eliminating the need for plug-ins or downloading of files. Second, the Java-based technology delivers the same interactive instruction we provide in our computer-based training courses, but now delivers it over the Web or a corporate intranet."

SkillSpace can be used over an intranet or the Internet. It provides tracking so the administrator can follow student progress. And the company plans to use SkillSpace as the delivery mechanism for all of its existing courses.

The beta version (with access to the company's Communicator 4.0 training modules) should be onsite by the time you read this. Server software is planned for the end of the year. Pricing is not yet set.

Judge to appoint special master for doc-sealing decision

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte has decided to appoint a special master to choose which documents in the Sun/Microsoft case are sealed.

Judge Whyte's take: "There is a basic right to public access to filings unless there's a good reason for them to be confidential. The problem is that confidential orders get signed, and then the parties tend to be very liberal in marking things confidential, when it should be the other way around."

Whyte is leaning toward selecting a retired judge as special master. Both parties must agree on the selection. Several media outlets have joined the lawsuit to ask that all or some of the documents in the case be unsealed. Sun itself has asked that its May motion for a preliminary injunction, the one that alleged unfair competition, be unsealed.

The First Wave contracts are a primary target of the request to unseal documents. First Wave is Microsoft's nondisclosure program in which Microsoft exchanges early code and promotional support in return for software vendors' pledges to use Microsoft technologies -- such as Active Directory, NT security schemes, and of course MS-Java -- in their products.

Microsoft has already produced edited versions of its First Wave contracts, and has been ordered to provide unedited version for the court. Sun officials said that the edited versions it received were incomprehensible.

Original article:

JavaOS for Biz expands beyond the NC

Sun and IBM announced the results of their cooperative work on the JavaOS for Business framework, and it should take the platform beyond its original NC-centric focus.

The core JavaOS for Business operating system will come with:

  • Development tools and APIs for server-side client management
  • Thin-client remote administration features
  • An Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) development kit
  • Device drivers and a driver interface for building platform-independent drivers
  • JavaBeans interfaces
  • The ability to reconfigure JavaOS systems without rebooting
  • Testing/certification programs

The JavaOS partners are also signing up OEMs that don't manufacture network computers and OEMs that make mobile and handheld devices. Both moves are designed to broaden the platform's reach; the second move would help bring the operating system into competition with Windows CE.

KeyLabs will offer JavaOS conformance testing and certification.

JavaOS for Business supports JDK 1.1.4 and Windows NT and Solaris servers with international language support.

Rainbow's SentinelLM license manager gets certified

Rainbow Technologies announced that SentinelLM, its software-based license manager that lets developers license apps via a simple point-and-click interface, has been certified 100% Pure Java.

With SentinelLM, developers can easily and quickly add license-enforcement capabilities to any Unix or Windows application, either on a standalone or a network basis. That way, developers can create timed-license software for customers to try out, and can more easily craft flexible network-based licenses for programs.

Besides easy point-and-click licensing, SentinelLM features:

  • A two-call API to simplify Unix-based license-management implementation
  • An improved Windows DLL that lets non-C developers incorporate SentinelLM
  • Native language examples in Visual Basic, PowerBuilder, and Delphi
  • More than 60 preset APIs to let developers build custom versions of the SentinelLM tools

ADP e-XPENSE 5.0 gets Java capabilities

Automatic Data Processing (ADP) announced that its e-XPENSE Services clients will be getting version 5.0 of its automated expense reporting system later this year. This version will come with new Java capabilities, a VAT refund module, and better credit card reconciliation and e-mail-enabled management reports.

Java not only acts as the front end for the system, it lets users access expense reports via a Web browser.

According to ADP VP Robert Brandes, "As this industry matures and users become more technologically savvy, our customers expect greater flexibility and customization. We recognize that Java can provide the versatility our customers need. That's why we made it our front-end module."

Version 5.0 is available in Java and as a Windows-based program.

Avenida delivers Java-based Web server

Avenida Technologies Ltd. announced Avenida Web Server 1.0, a servlet-architecture Web server certified 100% Pure Java.

Avenida Web Server 1.0 supports the servlet API, and ships with four servlets:

  • The File servlet provides the standard HTTP server behavior to serve Web content.
  • The Proxy servlet supports the CONNECT protocol and allows the server to act as a proxy to any intranet clients. It also enables HTTP tunneling.
  • The Redirect servlet allows client request to be transparently redirected to other servers.
  • The Virtual Hosting servlet lets Web servers appear as discrete hosts with their own domain names, so you can host multiple sites from one server.

There is a GUI-based Administration Tool with which developers can build and test server configurations, then export them to different machines. Developers can define server configurations for different purposes and locations, and then deploy them in the field without the Administration Tool.

Avenida Web Server 1.0 is available for a single license fee of 50. Discounts available for volume purchases.

Java SSL transaction simulator

nCipher announced a Java applet for developers to download that acts as a simulation of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) transactions on nFast crypto accelerators, the company's main products.

The simulation demonstrated performance comparisons of SSL transactions between nCipher's nFast accelerators and different server platforms. (The nFast cryptographic accelerators use an array of dedicated, high-speed crypto processors bundled in a low-power peripheral to speed access through secure transaction channels.)

All developers have to do is load the simulation, then choose a key length, system server platform, and type of nFast accelerator. After the simulation rate (average requests per second) and simulation profile (flat, spiked, or random) are selected, the first graph will display the number of requests submitted. Graph two contrasts the number of requests the unaided server can handle versus the number that server-plus-nFast can handle. Graph three demonstrates requests still in the queue and the average wait time in the queue of both configurations.

NetObjects takes over Lotus BeanMachine

NetObjects has acquired the IBM/Lotus BeanMachine compiler. Current development plans include a new version by the end of September 1998, and a new name -- BeanBuilder 1.0.

BeanBuilder lets developers assemble and deploy Bean component applications. It supports any third-party Bean as long as it complies with the JavaBeans specification. It also supports multiple-output formats, local and remote publishing, and ODBC/JDBC. The software will use NetObjects' ScriptBuilder so developers can design Java and CGI scripts. The company's WebSphere product will be used for application deployment.

The beta version should be available by the time you read this (August 10, 1998).

Java Grande Forum wants to increase Java's numerical ability

A group of academics and high-speed computing experts have coalesced to form the Java Grande Forum. Its goal: To meet with Sun to make Java more useful in compute-intensive areas, such as advanced engineering, astrophysics, design, and scientific visualization and modeling.

Spurred on by Java inventor James Gosling's acknowledgement that Java is limited in number-intensive computing, the group recently delivered a list of proposed changes to Java to address these math limitations -- such as floating point, 2D arrays, complex numbers, and operator overloading. (Other engineering languages, such as Fortran, do handle these functions.)

Why doesn't the group just stick with engineering languages? According to NIST research scientist Ron Boisvert, "We have the same portability problems as everybody else. Although workhorses like Cray are still in use, more and more scientific processing is being done on RISC-based servers as parallel machines." And write-once, run-anywhere applications would help when the software has to move from platform to platform.

The first set of requests will be to work on bottlenecks in the JVM, add the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) floating-point spec to Java, create a new framework based on faster message passing than RMI can provide, and introduce the ideas of lightweight objects and vector/matrices functions.

Sun and the forum hope they can finalize the list by November 1998, just in time to present it at the Supercomputer 98 conference.

Java Grande Forum announcements page:

Activerse gives worldwide communication to Java Lobby

Activerse is providing its Ding! Enterprise Java-based presence-management and messaging system to the Java Lobby for no cost.

Ding! Enterprise (Ding! and Ding! Switchboard) lets users see who is online and who is available for messages through such features as instant messaging, chat, file and URL transfer, and live-status bulletins.

According to Activerse development VP Jim Dutton, the company is providing the software free to the Java Lobby to support the non-profit's advocacy of Java software development, as well as the advancement of Java standards and software. Dutton said, "Large, geographically dispersed groups such as the Java Lobby can dramatically enhance their productivity and efficiency through the use of online collaboration products."

Lobby founder Rick Ross said, "Ding! is proof that the rumors about the death of client-side Java are greatly exaggerated."

Ding!: Java Lobby:

Progress delivers Apptivity online seminar

Progress Software is offering an Apptivity online seminar, "Making Java Work for Your Business: How to Use the Web to Your Competitive Advantage," for developers that wish to grow business-critical applications to include the Web.

The one-hour seminars are free, and they feature a live, interactive technical Q&A session. The seminar focuses on:

  • Sharing business-operations software online with customers
  • Reducing Web application development costs
  • Introducing new Java technology (like server-side) to existing systems
  • Building and deploying flexible Web applications

The last seminar was July 29, 1998. Check with Progress for future seminars.

i-Planet's RemotePassage ships with Go-Joe client

i-Planet announced that it will be shipping its RemotePassage enterprise network product with GraphOn's Go-Joe X thin-client server. The bundle will allow secure access to X Windows applications on internal networks without installing any client software or requiring tunneling-based VPN solutions.

i-Planet's RemotePassage fattens up the package with its Netlet technology, which encrypts the Go-Joe data stream so the client session stays secure. Netlet also automatically detects where users are -- whether behind a firewall or coming in from the Internet. From behind a firewall, Netlet detects the outgoing SSL proxy and port number and uses them to provide Internet access. In other words, the client and the server can both be tucked safely away behind a firewall, using a private network address, and still communicate.

Go-Joe offers the RapidX compression algorithm that can reduce large Unix and X applications and files for fast downloading.

The basic RemotePassage/GraphOn package starts at ,000.

GEO and CA combine for high-quality multimedia delivery

GEO Interactive announced that it and Computer Associates (CA) have inked a joint development agreement to combine GEO's Emblaze Audio, Video, and VideoPro streaming multimedia products with CA's Jasmine object database applications.

GEO Interactive will develop a component which will allow developers using Jasmine to incorporate Emblaze multimedia products.

Emblaze products let Web users receive streaming audio/visual content without plug-ins. The bridging component will allow users of the Jasmine object-oriented platform to integrate the Emblaze capabilities into its generated distributed applications. Jasmine treats the Emblaze streaming audio and video files as business objects for management, integration, and deployment.

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